We are writing a business plan to get funding from KfW and get great help! How to find a good advisor?
While well listening to feedback of our potential users, our concept evolved. I decided that it was a good moment to ask an expert for advice.
How to find an expert
1st: What do you need?
You have to think about what exactly you need. We needed:
A realistic second opinion and critical view on our project
Probably funding, but how much and where do we get it?
Business advice, because this is Jacques' and my first start up
2nd: Where do you find a trustworthy advisor?
I started looking at the internet. I informed myself a lot on websites like Gründerszene and für-Gründer.de. On start up websites there are sometimes these forms that you can fill out. They ask you what you need exactly: Financing? Help with founding your company? Help with a business plan? So, I filled it out and then there seemed to be an internet connection problem, because when I finished filling out the form and pushed on the "send" button, nothing changed. So I pushed some more times on the button. And what happened then is that there were many many many advisors writing emails and calling. Acually, with the first who called, I arranged right away a meeting within 5 minutes. And then the advisor flood started. So I read a little bit about how to choose a business advisor. Because it's not a protected title. After being more informed, I cancelled the meeting with the first one. I had looked him up and he was weirdly CEO of many small companies in different businesses. He showed a funny reaction to the cancellation: He told me basically that I was stupid and that I only cancel because I know nothing et cetera.. I think, it was a good choice to cancel.
I can't guarantee anything, but paying attention to the following 3 points might avoid some disappointments:
Forget advisors who call you 3 times in a row
Quick promises can only be fake
If the advisor doesn't try to understand very well what you are doing and for whom you are doing it, forget him/her
See if you find references
Look up your potential advisor, further than page 1 of google results
Our great advisor
Markus Hübner also contacted me via email after I filled out the online form of one of these start up websites.
We arranged a phone call where I explained every detail to him and he explained to me how we could proceed and that he would help us to write a business plan. We would do so to really figure out a realistic plan for the future but also ask for a soft loan, to finance everything we'd need to realize our goals.
Since we started, everything's going really well with him. I never would have learned so much so quickly about the start up business by myself.